casserole · cats · dinner · easy · gluten free · healthy · quick · Rice · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

Weeknight Veggie Rice Casserole and CATS

T and I have been getting settled into the new place. We’re finding our routines and learning how to live with another person. It’s a lot of compromising and communication, which neither of us are used to after living alone for the last few years (more for him). The cats are getting used to it, too. And by “getting used to it,” of course I actually mean that they are causing the loudest fucking ruckus every goddamn morning at 4am. T didn’t believe me that we should wait until 7am to feed them in the morning. He insists that we feed them right when we wake up at 6am. Well, I don’t know about other cats, but MY fucking asshole cats start screaming for food at least an hour and a half before it’s actually time to feed them. And they are happy to teach other cats all their asshole tricks, too. Bourdain usually starts it. He will zip around the apartment, often taking the time to dart across our sleeping bodies several times before knocking the books off the bookshelf in the living room. Then, when we finally get up to wrangle him, he shoots under a chair or behind a box, and starts biting if you reach for him. It’s fun. The only way to catch him is to bring out food, which only reinforces the behavior. So I end up throwing a small handful of dry food into the spare bedroom, and closing the door as he runs in after it. I’ll go back to bed, but now the rest of them are all riled up. Nevertheless, I crawl into bed and cover my head with a pillow, hoping for the best.

 

THEN. Motherfucking Harriet will start nibbling on the large Ikea plant in the living room. I don’t know why we even purchased the fucking thing. It didn’t work last time, and it’s not going to work this time. We are cat people, not plant people. Despite all of our efforts, Harriet fucking eats the leaves every godforsaken morning. And then she proceeds to barf them up on the one nice rug we have, not the wood floors. EVERY. FUCKING. MORNING. And if that isn’t enough, Cecil will attack her right after the barfing incident (which I have taken to ignoring), which causes screams so loud I have to believe the neighbors think we’re running some sort of weird cat fighting ring at 4:30am everyday. I end up having to put her in the bedroom with Bourdain to both protect the plants and for her own safety (we can’t trust Cecil when he’s hungry). Once she is contained, it gets better. But we still have to deal with Cecil jumping on us. In fact, he’ll often sit next to my head and just stare down at my face until I wake up. It’s creepy as fuck. The only quiet, well behaved one is Chuck. He’s such a good, fluffy boy.

Oh wait, that’s not accurate at all. Once the others stop with their shenanigans, Chuck will start yowling uncontrollably in the living room. We have a loft, so the master bedroom opens into the living room, which means he’s yowling LOUDLY right fucking next to us. It’s fucking horrific.

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Oh, and BTW, this all repeats itself at dinnertime, too. It literally just happened while I was writing this. It’s just less annoying at 6pm versus 4am. Ya know?

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Last weekend T and I decided to explore the neighborhood by bar hopping. I had my very first grape ape, and still made us a wholesome dinner. These were things I had on hand, so there was no shopping needed. It was quick and easy, and tasted great with an egg on it for breakfast, too.

Weeknight Veggie Rice Casserole

1.5 cups dry brown rice

3 cups vegetable broth

1/2 can (14oz) diced fire roasted tomatoes

1 can (14oz) chickpeas, drained

Zest and juice of one lemon

1 small onion, diced

3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup chopped parsley

4 cups chopped spinach or Swiss Chard

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large sauce pan, boil water. Once boiling, add in dry brown rice and simmer for 17 minutes. Drain and rinse. Set aside. Saute the greens with a little olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Once wilted, set aside. In a large skillet over medium high heat saute onion in olive oil until translucent (5ish minutes). Add in the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes before adding in the rice. Mix well and let cook for another 2-3 minutes. Pour in broth, lemon zest and juice, and chickpeas. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir everything together well. Add in half of the feta and the cooked greens. Pour entire mixture into a large baking dish (9 x 13). Sprinkle with remaining feta and parsley. Bake for 20-25 minutes, then broil for 5 minutes.

Clockwise from the top: Chuck (obviously), Bourdain, Harriet, Cecil

Basics · healthy · Rice · travel · vacation · vegetarian · Yummy

How to Make Brown Rice + Costa Rican Adventures

Okay, so here’s the thing. I flew in from Costa Rica this morning at 1am. It was 2 flights, a 4 hour layover, a confused and lost Lyft driver, and a 90 degree temperature difference. By the time I corrected my Lyft driver, picked up my car, made a tampon run, dropped off my bag, showered, and collapsed into bed at T’s, it was 3am. So forgive me for not having pictures of this week’s recipe. It’s really because I wasn’t planning on posting about rice this week. I was originally going to do spinach dip, but that will have to wait. Who the fuck cares about spinach dip when I’ve spent the last week eating the most delicious Costa Rican food? So I thought I’d help everyone out with the constant fucking struggle that is rice. The photos can inspire ways to serve your rice, but I will have no photos of the process, or even of rice I’ve cooked myself. I think you’ll all live.

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My friend, Liz, and I went to Costa Rica together for a week. I always forget that she doesn’t like swimming, especially in the ocean, which is literally my favorite thing. So imagine my surprise when she leaps at the chance to jump off the roof of our catamaran tour boat. The guides gave us 15 minutes of swim time before bringing us all to the shore of a secluded white sand beach (I know, right?!). I didn’t honestly think she’d want to swim at all, much less dive in from the roof. She doesn’t even like heights! As much as I love swimming and the ocean, I wasn’t even 100% sure I wanted to jump from the roof. I thought I’d climb down the ladder like a fucking wuss, dipping one chubby leg in at a time. But I can’t be the one to discourage her wave of bravery. Who am I to rain on her fucking parade? We were doing this. As we climbed to the roof of the rocking boat, I immediately tripped on the rope that had literally just been pointed out to me. Off to a good start. Just great. We made our way to the edge of the roof, got some reassurance from those that jumped before us, held hands, and leaped into the dark green water below. I landed ass first, obviously. I must have panicked mid-air, and decided to put my largest bit first. Makes sense, I guess.

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Snacks from our catamaran tour

We also spent our time eating gallo pinto and casados con pollo. Gallo pinto is a traditional breakfast dish made up of rice and beans mixed together with some spices and hot sauce (and cilantro, which is NOT food). We had ours with eggs and a side of fruit every morning. Luckily, I was never able to taste the cilantro in the gallo pinto.

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Gallo pinto with eggs

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The “weird” casados with an egg, ranch dressing, tortillas, AND mashed potatoes?

 

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A more traditional casados

Casados is a traditional plate of food, usually consisting of rice, beans, salad with “ugly lemon” squeezed over the top, fried plantains, and your choice of meat or fish. I took off my vegetarian label to experience the local cuisine, and opted to try pork once and fish many times. Each restaurant had a different form of casados, some of them even adding an egg on top (Liz was baffled). Within 3 days, I realized that I had made the grave mistake of not properly preparing my body for a sudden influx of beans. That, combined with a serious lack of water intake, caused bloating like I’d never experienced. All night long my stomach was making the saddest sounding whale noises, while my lower abdomen stuck out far enough to be a mid-term pregnancy. You’re welcome for that visual (and audio).

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Casados con chicharrones (fatty pork bits)

Brown Rice

1 cup dry, long grain brown rice

6(+/-) cups water, divided

1 teaspoon salt

Olive oil

In a medium sauce pan, bring 3-4 cups water to a boil. Add in the rice and let boil for 17 minutes. Drain and rinse well. Drizzle ~2 tablespoons of oil into a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is relatively hot and has thoroughly coated the pan. Add in the rice and keep stirring as it sizzles. Allow it to fry slightly for 2-3 minutes as you continue to stir. Add in 3 cups of water and the salt. Stir everything well, making sure none of the rice is sticking to the bottom. Lower to a simmer and cover. Let simmer for 25 minutes. Make sure to stay close, though. You will likely need to add in some more water (probably about 1/2 cup). DO NOT STIR ONCE THE SIMMERING HAS STARTED. If you do, you’ll fuck it up. Don’t be a fuck up. Also, if you abandon your rice and start to smell it burning from another room – it’s too fucking late. That shit will be all fucked up. Trust me, I know. I’ve fucked up many a batches of rice.

Serve it with SO many things – tacos, burritos, meat/fish, eggs, roasted veggies.

Here are some of the critters we saw:

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Curry · Dating · dinner · easy · gluten free · healthy · Indian food · quick · Rice · Sauces · vegan · Vegetables · vegetarian

Vegan Chickpea Curry

I’m doing this new thing where I actually have some kind of schedule with posting blogs. You know, like a responsible adult that actually wants regular readers. But, fuck… having a deadline is exhausting. I thought I’d start posting every Sunday… then last Sunday passed without a post. I got one done by Tuesday, so then I was like, “Great! I’ll just post every Tuesday.” But now, here I am… Tuesday night. No post yet. I’m working on it, but I really just want to watch The L Word and go to bed early. I was going to do it earlier today, but then I got tired after therapy and decided to take myself to a movie (it had to be done).

I made this recipe a few days ago, and can still smell curry when I walk into my apartment. The smell reminds me of this guy I dated last winter who claimed to have a housekeeper. He even made up this elaborate lie about having her over for Thanksgiving so she wouldn’t be alone (I know this was a lie because I actually hung out with him on Thanksgiving and he said he hadn’t done anything earlier in the day). He told the lie a few weeks prior. I suppose I could give him the benefit of the doubt, right? Maybe plans had changed for some reason. Or maybe he’s a goddamn liar that was trying to seem like a really sweet, thoughtful guy. Anyway, the first (and only) time I walked into his apartment, I was hit with the smell of curry. Seems to me like an apartment that is professionally cleaned regularly might smell of cleaning products (and not look like a dirty bachelor pad). Honestly, I didn’t mind the smell. Curry smells delicious. The issue I had was the filthy kitchen that was just packed with shit. I mean, why does one dude need all those gadgets? And why is absolutely NOTHING clean? Where has this housekeeper been? Oh yeah, she doesn’t fucking exist and you’re a goddamn liar. I mean, honestly, if you’re going to lie about something like that you should at least see it all the way through and clean your apartment. BE CONVINCING AND CONSISTENT.

We didn’t see each other again after that because I just wasn’t that interested. He insisted upon texting me once every month or two afterwards, though, just to see if I’d changed my mind(I didn’t). I had deleted his number, but always knew it was him anyway by the fucking ridiculous string of emojis that accompanied every. single. fucking. text. I would still play the game of, “I’m sorry… who is this,” which always pissed him off (and made me laugh). If I tell you to delete my number, just fucking do it. I don’t say something like that lightly. It means you fucked up beyond repair and we both need to move on. Plus, we only went out a few times and I just wasn’t that invested. If I’m on the fence about it anyway AND you’re being a dick… it’s not gonna happen.

I would like it noted that I didn’t stop seeing him because of his dirty kitchen. I’m not that shallow. I stopped seeing him because he was ambivalent about seeing me and would often forget to respond to my texts. I felt like a back-up plan, and that’s just not good enough for me. At 32, I now know I deserve more than that.

I’m finally putting the final touches on this post today (Thursday), though it was mostly written on Tuesday with the intention of posting that day! Fuck. Next week, maybe. I’ll get my shit together one of these day and post on a regular basis. Gotta keep my 20 or so readers happy! Also, I have to keep creating content for Humberto’s English class to read in Brazil. My blog is literally teaching people English. What is your’s doing?

Though, to be honest, this blog is really not appropriate for young teenagers. Am I right? I mean, I guess it’s no worse than me watching Pretty Woman at 5 years old, or obsessing over Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love To You” at the tender age of nine. This is definitely more appropriate than that. Why was no one concerned about that?

Vegan Chickpea Curry

2 medium onions, diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons curry paste

1 can coconut milk (full fat, unsweetened)

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 large handful of Swiss chard, chopped

1-2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 handful cherry tomatoes, chopped

1 handful basil, chopped

1 teaspoon maple syrup

Cooked rice of choice

Cook the onions with the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add in the curry paste, coconut milk, and a pinch of salt. Stir well, letting the curry paste dissolve. Then add in the chickpeas, Swiss chard, and soy sauce. Let it simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. It’ll thicken a little bit. Throw in the tomatoes, basil, maple syrup, and lemon juice. Taste that shit. Add more shit if needed. Serve with rice and some fucking delicious naan bread.

If someone tells you to delete their number, just fucking do it. Don’t be a dick.

breakfast · brunch · easy · eggs · healthy · mushrooms · quick · Rice · Stir-fry · vegetarian

Breakfast Stir-Fry

I spent last weekend in Florida visiting my snowbird mother in Naples. She’s been trying to fly me down there every 6-12 months for the last three years. I don’t know what prevented me from saying yes for so long. I guess Florida just isn’t really my thing. Which doesn’t make any sense considering how much I love the ocean. I mean, I’m constantly talking about being a mermaid with Hannah. That’s normal, right? And I always have fun when I visit my one and only friend down there. I don’t honestly know what is wrong with me. I should take my mom up on free trips to Florida more often.

On Sunday night my mom took me to her singles dance night (for seniors) at the Elk Club. My original plan was to drink my face off, but I didn’t realize I would be so hungover from drinking wine with my mom and her girlfriends the night before (we were out of hand and it was fantastic). So I had a total of two Shirley Temples, which included eight cherries, and parked myself at a table with a good view of the dance floor. I watched my mom dance with a variety of older gentlemen that had some serious moves. There was one guy in a pair of khakis and a white button down shirt, which had one too many buttons undone. He was twirling his dance partners all over the place, which made him a very popular choice among the ladies.

After the first hour or so I was getting a bit bored. While texting with a friend of mine back home, she convinced me to redownload Tinder just to see what Florida had to offer. I was reluctant, but I did it…. and I set my age range to 25-55+ (thinking the older crowd would be more entertaining, because apparently I’m a huge asshole). The most entertaining profiles were actually of younger people. Some of it was really redneck, but most of it wasn’t all that different from the people I would find in Minneapolis. However, I ended up not really needing the extra entertainment, because I was about to be twirled around the dance floor by a lovely elderly gentleman. My mom forced me to join the “mixer,” which is when the women form a circle in the middle of the dance floor and the men form a circle around them. Then the DJ plays fast music as the men and women walk in opposite directions (it’s very heteronormative). When the music slows, you grab the first man you see and slow dance for 30ish seconds. I started each and every dance with loudly announcing, “I don’t know how to dance!” Everyone was lovely, except for one creepy old man in a peach colored polo (which just seems so Florida, doesn’t it?), who insisted upon pressing his entire body against mine and even pulling my hand to his chest. Gag. Barf. He had an accent of some sort, which you could tell made him think he was a lot more irresistible than was accurate. Anyway, fuck that guy – let’s talk about Lenny. He was the fucking sweetest old man I’ve ever met in my life, and I desperately wanted him to be my dad (grandpa?). He spent a good 4-5 songs trying to teach me how to dance (I fucking hate dancing, and become painfully aware of how awkward I look doing it). He taught me a swing step and then the waltz. And he talked about this funny cat commercial he saw recently, which fucking killed me. Through the entire dance lesson, he kept counting out loud for me so that I wouldn’t lose my step. Then, when I (inevitably) tripped over my own feet and forgot where we were, he would stop, wait a beat, and start again. My heart full on exploded. Fuck.

Lenny. I’ll never forget you.

Breakfast in Florida consisted of eggs and toast every day. This is my standard Mom breakfast. It’s what she always does, and she doesn’t add veggies/avocado/rice/beans/etc. No big deal. We all like what we like, right? But I was pretty excited to cook something a little different for breakfast once I got home. So I made this breakfast stir-fry! Also, sometimes I get distracted and forget to eat all the rice in the fridge. When this happens, I make breakfast stir-fry a day or two before the rice is really going to go bad. It’s super easy, super healthy, and fucking delicious.

Breakfast Stir-Fry

2-3 button mushrooms

A few tablespoons of chopped onion

A few tablespoons of chopped bell pepper

A small handful of spinach (or any green)

1 egg

1 scoop of brown rice, cooked

Hot sauce

Salt and pepper

Olive oil or non-stick spray

In a medium skillet with olive oil or non-stick spray, saute the mushrooms, peppers, and onions over medium-high heat. Stir them once or twice and cook until they’re lightly browned. Add a little salt and pepper, along with the greens and a scoop of rice to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir well. In another skillet, heat olive oil (or spray) over medium heat and cook your egg however you’d like (I prefer over-easy, because, let’s be real, eggs are the only food that come with their own sauce. Why would you not use that to your advantage?). Try not to break the yolk like I did. Once the rice is warm and the veggies are cooked, throw it all into a bowl. Top with your fried egg and a bunch of hot sauce. Like, a shit ton of hot sauce. Then stab the egg so the yolk gets everywhere. You’re welcome.

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And maybe let’s all stop giving Florida such a hard time.

Except I burned my scalp there, so Florida can fuck off.

 

comfort food · Dating · dinner · gluten free · healthy · Rice · vegetarian

Squash Risotto with a Side of Authenticity

Tonight was the first night of the last section of my yoga teacher training. This section is titled Intuition and Authenticity. It’s actually the first section of the training, but I missed it during the last round, because I decided to sign up for the training super late on a fucking whim. Sometimes I think all the best decisions are made on a whim. I remember the day I signed up for training. I was walking to work at 7:30 in the morning when I impulsively pulled out my phone and started emailing the studio owner (who is also one of my favorite humans). It just felt like something I absolutely had to do. I had to. Have you ever felt like that?

Anyway, here I am… almost done with training. Already teaching. And constantly preaching about authenticity and vulnerability. But I’m not always authentic or vulnerable. Why? Because it’s fucking scary. I thought I could handle being authentic while I navigate dating, but I fucking can’t. I keep telling my dates that I hate games, and that I wish people would be more upfront about their feelings/intentions/etc. But when it comes down to it, I don’t always do that.

I went on 6 dates over the course of 5 days recently (with 4 different people – yes, I am exhausted). I found myself being authentic about 75% of the time, depending on the date and how much I liked them. The other 25% of the time I spent trying to figure out what they wanted me to say. One of the guys was given the impression that I liked him a whole lot more than I did. That was totally my fault. I wanted to like him… but I just fucking didn’t. He was weird and talked over me a lot. But still, I should have been clearer about that in the moment, so I didn’t have to blindside him the next morning with a text message. Another guy I didn’t like because he was super rude to our server. I hate ghosting… I think it’s really fucking mean, and I say so on my Tinder profile. I gave this guy a few days of staying matched on Tinder before I simply unmatched him. That is basically ghosting. I’m not proud of myself, but I have to believe he would have contacted me at least once in those few days if he had been interested anyway. I won’t do it again… I promise. I just felt overwhelmed by all the matches. Ugh. I know… that’s not a real excuse. I’m honestly sorry I did it. One of the other ones is really interesting, but just too out there for me. I think we’ll probably be friends, though. I should probably tell him that… lest he get the wrong idea. And the last one…. well, he made it to 3 dates (with hopefully a 4th soon). This is where I’m struggling the most. I like him a lot. And suddenly I feel raw and vulnerable. Keep in mind… we met last week. There is almost nothing invested here. And maybe nothing will ever be invested here… that’s not the point. The point is that this is the first time I’m feeling like this in years. And this is the whole fucking point of dating, isn’t it? The feelings. They strike out of fucking nowhere, with the person you least expect… and then you’re left panicking about whether or not you’re enough. Fuck. And I’ve never tried to navigate feelings like this in an authentic way. It’s so fucking hard. It’s hard to stand in front of someone and say, “Hey, I like you… do you like me, too?” Because they might fucking say no. Or, as I told my friend Danielle after she said that you’re supposed to find someone you like, “But then they can CRUSH YOUR SOUL.”

I can be a little bit dramatic.

Anyway, the point of this story is not this guy in particular… it’s just interesting for me to rediscover what it’s like to really like someone, and figure out how to interact with them without losing myself in the process. And it’s fun to know I can feel like this again. I didn’t expect it, and yeah, it’s a little scary… but it’s also a fun period of growth.

I will leave you with 2 little nuggets of wisdom from one of my closest friends. She said the following inspiring statements:

“It will be uncomfortable to have feelings, let them happen anyway.”

“Be thankful you’ve found something that scares you, pushes you out of your comfort zone. Even if it doesn’t work out in the end, be glad you have the ability to feel like this. The alternative is a gray world of ‘meh.'”

I love that shit. A gray world of “meh.”

Fuck.

This is another one of those mail-order recipes. It’s from Blue Apron, and again, I only did it because they had a free week coupon. I was like, free food?! Fuck yeah! I’m going to type out the recipe that they gave me, and then tell you which ingredients/steps were a waste of fucking time at the end. Okay. Here goes…

Butternut Squash Risotto

3/4 cup carnaroli rice

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 ounces brussels sprouts, thinly sliced (unnecessary)

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed (and cleaned of the innards)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons Mascarpone cheese

2 tablespoons chopped chestnuts, peeled and roasted (completely unnecessary)

1 shallot, diced

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Spread squash onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, moving things around to get everything coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast squash for 14-16 minutes, stirring halfway through, until browned and tender.

While the squash is roasting, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat. Add shallots and celery, seasoning with salt and pepper, and cooking 2-3 minutes. Then add the garlic, cooking for another minute or so, stirring frequently. Add the rice and cook  2-3 mintues, stirring frequently until toasted and fragrant. Add 3 1/2 cups of water, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20-22 minutes, stirring often. The rice will absorb most of the water, and will be al dente (slightly firm to the bite).

Once the risotto has cooked for about 15 minutes, in medium skillet, start sauteing the brussels sprouts in a little olive oil over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add the chestnuts and half of the butter and cook for another 2ish minutes.

Once the rice is finished cooking, add the mascarpone cheese, squash, and remaining butter to the pot. Once combined, add a little more salt and pepper (to taste), and scoop into bowls. Top with the brussels sprouts and chestnuts, plus a sprinkling of parmesan. Or skip the brussels sprouts and chestnuts, and go for some mushrooms instead. I don’t think the toppings were necessary at all here… it was fucking awesome without them. Plus, who the fuck buys peeled chestnuts? If they hadn’t come in a neat little package with the rest of my ingredients,  I wouldn’t have even known where to purchase them.

When you’re done with all of that, eat your fancy risotto and promise yourself to never ghost someone ever again. Seriously. Don’t be a dick.

Serve with a glass of wine to help you unwind from your dating marathon. Then take a nap.

easy · gluten free · healthy · lunch · quick · Rice · Sauces · vegan · vegetarian

Vegan Chickpea and Spinach Stew

It’s that time of year again… time for setting a new year’s resolution. I have very mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I like the idea of making positive life changes and just trying to be an all around better human. On the other hand, I hate the idea that we think we have to change who we are (usually physically) every single year. Part of me wants to just blow off the whole fucking thing, but the other part of me has some goals set anyway. I mean, these goals aren’t dependent upon the new year, but have been sort of ongoing. Here is my list:

  • Eat mindfully (stop scarfing candy and cookies all the damn time)
  • Get my ass to more yoga classes
  • Advance my Acro practice
  • Limit social media to only checking twice daily
  • Travel EVERYWHERE

I recently got my passport renewed, so that last one is definitely going to happen this year. The others… we’ll see. The problem with wanting to change parts of yourself, either physically or mentally, is that it’s hard to also accept yourself as you are when you’re trying to change. So let’s all practice being a little bit gentler with ourselves. Fuck what society tells us. We are enough just as we are. And if we want to change something, we can, but that doesn’t mean we need to criticize ourselves in the process. Change takes time. It’s not instant.  And if we don’t want to change, that’s okay, too.

My new passport brought with it a sense of freedom I had not anticipated. My ex couldn’t travel for reasons I won’t get into, and so that kept me from traveling internationally. We would get into these huge fights anytime I went on a trip. It was a whole thing I’m not going to delve into right now, but it left me feeling trapped. It was a fight I didn’t want to have, so I let my passport expire for the first time in my life. Now that it has been renewed, and I’m divorced, I cannot wait to go exploring. Iceland and Brazil are both on the list. If you have cheap travel suggestions/tips, please let me know! I want to go EVERYWHERE.

Also, I signed up for Tinder last night, and promptly lost almost 2 hours of my life setting up my profile and swiping like mad. I currently have 11 matches, and almost no one is messaging me. Why swipe right if you don’t want to talk?! I give it 2 weeks before I lose my patience.

I think I’ll focus my energy on planning all the travel! Excitement!

Oh, and this recipe happened when I was searching for meals that would include a lot of protein. I’ve been really into chickpeas lately. And I’m always eating spinach, so this seemed like a good recipe to try. It’s delicious! And I didn’t even realize it was vegan until after I made it. Though, sometimes I add an egg on top, which obviously makes it not vegan anymore. It is also gluten-free! Yay! Side note: I am neither vegan nor gluten-free. This is still good, though! Try it!

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Vegan Chickpea and Spinach Stew

3 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium onion, chopped

3 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons ground paprika

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2-3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 (28 oz)can whole, peeled tomatoes, slightly drained and mashed

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 (15 oz)can chickpeas

2 cups spinach (I didn’t actually measure this, but threw in a few big handfuls)

Salt and pepper to taste

Brown rice, cooked, for serving

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, and cook for several minutes, until the onions are translucent, stirring often. Add garlic and continue stirring, cooking for another minute or so. Add the spices and stir continuously for another minute or two. Add tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the mashed tomatoes with a little of the juice from the can, salt and pepper, and half of the sugar. Let simmer, stirring occasionally. Add more salt and pepper as needed, as well as the rest of the sugar (only if needed). Let simmer for just a couple of minutes, until sauce has thickened a little bit. Stir in the chickpeas and spinach. Continue to simmer, stirring frequently until chickpeas are heated through, and spinach is wilted. Add any final seasoning, and serve over a scoop of brown rice.

Feel smug about your healthy meal. But maybe have some ice cream for dessert. No one is perfect, and no one should try to be.

dinner · easy · gluten free · healthy · lunch · mushrooms · quick · Rice · sides · Stir-fry · vegetarian

Veggie Stir-Fry

Have you ever gotten really drunk, and then discovered the Snapchat filters? The face-swap one in particular. I mean, I knew this existed (I don’t live under a rock), but I’d never used it before. I laughed so hard that I actually full on started crying. It was a mess.

Also, the filter that makes you more attractive? Holy shit – I’ve never been so mesmerized by my own face.

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Any one else grow up in the suburbs? I live in the city now, and am spoiled rotten when it comes to restaurants. I literally live a block off of “Eat Street.” So last night I was visiting a girlfriend in the suburbs, and we decided to go out to Red Lobster (before drinking something like 3 bottles of wine each). Now, don’t get me wrong… Red Lobster is fine. I mean, it’s food. I really wanted seafood, and we were in the burbs, so what do you do? I feel like a snobby city hipster when I say these things. Seriously… they give you a plate of food that could feed a family of 4 at least, but first they shove all those delicious cheddar biscuits down your throat. My friend and I ate like 4 bites of our actual meals. And the waitress asked if we wanted dessert. Um, no.

Of course, this meant that we had awesome drunk food when we got the drunchies at 1am. I still have leftovers.

So today I’m not feeling great. I’m not as hungover as I should be, but food has been somewhat repulsive to me. I threw together this veggie stir-fry, which actually ended up being vegan. What. The. Fuck. I want you all to know that I ate a BLT for lunch. Also, I didn’t even eat this stir-fry. I finished making it, took one bite, photographed it, and threw it in a container for lunch tomorrow.

After I’m done here, I’m going to eat a bowl of ice cream in my underwear, while watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Then, I might do a little Yin with my cat.

I hope you’re all enjoying your Sunday as much as I am.

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Veggie Stir-Fry

1 sad scoop of leftover rice

1/4 onion, chopped

A handful of mushrooms (5-10ish button mushrooms), sliced

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

A handful of spinach

Green onion

Soy sauce

Worcestershire Sauce (Which I just learned has fish in it, making this dish not vegan at all! Ha!)

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Saute onion, mushrooms, and green pepper in olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook until mushrooms brown slightly. Add some salt and pepper. Throw in the rice, spinach, and a few dashes of soy and Worcestershire sauce. Stir everything together really well, adding more salt and pepper as needed. Once the spinach as wilted, and the rice is heated through, you’re done! Just scoop it into a bowl, and top with some chopped green onion. You could even make this into fried rice by adding a scrambled egg.

Pro tip: Reheat a scoop of this for breakfast, and add an over easy egg on top.